Now, country empowered to tackle graft: Hazare

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Ralegan-Siddhi (Maharashtra), Dec 18 (IANS) An overjoyed social activist Anna Hazare hailed the passage of the Lokpal bill in parliament Wednesday and said “we will be able to do something for the society and country”.

“On behalf of the people of the country, the citizens of Ralegan-Siddhi and all others who took part in the agitation, I thank the authorities for passing the bill,” Hazare said, addressing a large crowd of supporters shortly after the Lok Sabha too passed the legislation cleared by the Rajya Sabha Tuesday.

Several thousand supporters of Anna Hazare lustily cheered as the Lok Sabha passed the much-anticipated Lokpal bill.

As soon as the news flashed on TV screens, there were screams of joy and merriment in the gathering and a frail Hazare gathered strength to stand up on the dias.

“Jai Hind, Vande Mataram, Bharat Mata ki Jai” he cheered on the microphone, acknowledging the greetings and happiness of the people gathered in this village in Ahmednagar district of northern Maharashtra, around 235 km from Mumbai.

Many people broke into nationalist and devotional songs at the victory achieved by Hazare who was on an indefinite hunger strike to press for the Lokpal bill.

Anna Hazare said that for nearly a year, the bill languished in the Rajya Sabha for discussions and nothing moved.

Later, a select committee made suggestions based on people’s feedback, which were incorporated in the revised Lokpal bill which has been passed, he said.

This time, the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party took the lead and it has been passed with the support of all the political parties for the benefit of the nation and society, he said.

“First time in India, a law is being created to control corruption. Though corruption cannot be eradicated 100 percent, at least it will have a 50 percent effect to check graft,” Hazare declared, as he prepared to break his hunger strike that he began Dec 10.

“I am now hoping that it will be made into a law before the (2014) election code of conduct comes into force,” he added.

He expressed gratitude to the media, security forces, Jantantra Manch volunteers who made food and water arrangements for all visitors to Ralegan-Siddhi during the past nine days and all those who supported the agitation.

Hazare launched the hunger strike Dec 10 and vowed to continue it till the bill was presented during the current winter session of parliament and passed to make it a law.

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